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Finally, a group of lay leaders and educators from all parts of the state
will convene the first Congress on Education in Indiana on June 7, 1983. It
is expected that 500 or so people, each a leader in his or her own region of
the state, will meet to plan an educational agenda for the remainder of the
decade. The Congress has the full support of the private sector and the
various professional associations representing teachers, school boards,
school administrators and others. Indiana citizens realize that the long-term
economic health of their state rests upon the strength of the educational
system, and they have initiated a series of steps that will produce results.
More concretely, here are a few things that have been achieved to date as a result of the Commission, the state-wide conference on science and
mathematics, and other forms of collaboration.
The Department of Public Instruction has proposed the first major
changes in high school graduation requirements in 50 years.
changes include raising the number of total.credits needed from
32 to 38, doubling the number of required mathematics and science
courses from one year each to two years each, and adding a computer
The General Assembly is currently considering and is expected to
approve legislation that:
Will provide forgiveable loans to people electing to enter
teaching fields where there are "critical shortages." At the
present time this is mainly mathematics and science;
will provide fellowships for currently certified teachers in
other subject fields who wish to return to college to take
courses leading to math and/or science teaching certification.
will provide tax incentives for businesses that employ math
and science teachers during the summer months;
will enable school systems to purchase computer hardware and
Will establish a state-wide clearinghouse of information on
instructional uses of computer hardware and software;
will equip and staff 10 training sites throughout the state where
elementary and secondary school teachers can receive training in
the instructional use of microcomputers. Funds will make it
next two years.
The Lilly Endowment has established a program of "linkage" grants
that encourage university-school cooperation according to problems
confronting schools. Many of the projects will deal with efforts to
improve instruction in mathematics and science and the use of
The Indianapolis Public Schools, the Indianapolis Chamber of
Commerce, and local businesses and industries have established a
"partners" program that brings working scientists and engineers
into close collaboration with the schools, including donations of
time in which skilled engineers and technicians provide classroom
instruction without cost to the school system.
Indiana University has recently established the Office of School
Programs that is engaged in a wide range of activities designed to
link the University more closely to schools throughout the state.
Behind these very specific actions lies & spirit of cooperation linking
state and local government, the professional associations, and the business
community in ways not typical of the past. There is a growing awareness that
the economic/social health of the state is bound up with the quality of
education provided Indiana youth. All have a stake in helping 1t improve.
If Indiana is typical of other states, then Congress should pay careful
attention to what is already underway so as to make the best use of Federal resources and to avoid duplication and redundancy. With so few finds available,
it is important that state and Federal efforts complement each other.
The Appropriate Federal Legislative Response
In the United States public education is generally understood to be
primarily a responsibility for state and local governments. Nevertheless, some
educational issues are matters of national concern and demand a Federal response.
During the past 25 years we have gained considerable experience in ways that
the Federal government can contribute importantly to advancing education
without eroding state and local authority.
I know that you will be considering a number of legislative initiatives.
I have reviewed H. R. 1699 "The Emergency Mathematics and Science Education Act"
and s. 530 "Education for Economic Security Act," two of the bills you will
consider and find much in them to recommend.
With regard to S. 530 I was
pleased to note in Section 7 that vocational education has not been ignored.
I hope that as the Committee continues to consider this section it will give
special attention to the need to strengthen the basic skills components of
In Indiana and in many other states that are increasing
high school graduation requirements, it will be students in vocational education, more than those expecting to attend colleges and universities, who will be most
As states strengthen requirements in mathematics and science, it is
vital that some of the new courses be dosely linked to the needs of vocational
I was also pleased to note that Section 8 of S. 530 includes a
reference to "employment-based programs." It is important that colleges and
universities be stimulated to devote greater attention and resources to helping
prepare those who will direct worker training and retraining programs and to
devise new kinds of instructional materials for facilitating employee training,
While the approaches vary somewhat between the two bills, both H. R. 1699
and S. 530 offer means to correct current teacher shortages in mathematics,
science, foreign language, and computer technology. These are positive efforts
and deserve to be encouraged. Loans, fellowships, teacher institutes, etc.
can attract new people into the teaching field and retain those who are
currently employed. Yet, we should be modest in our expectations regarding
what can be accomplished by depending solely upon these solutions.
main reason that we have a shortage of mathematics, science, and foreign
language teachers is that in order to teach these subjects it is necessary
for a person to undergo extensive training; they are demanding subjects to
teach; and teachers of these subjects can find jobs outside of education that
pay much higher salaries than they can earn as teachers. We have let the
market mechanism operate to reduce the number of people entering the teaching
profession. By depressing the salaries of teachers, we have driven away
many of our best teachers, the most ambitious, those who can command higher
salaries in the private sector.
Until we confront this problem head on, we
shall be unable to resolve the teacher shortage problem in a fully satisfactory
I also worry about the possible overlap and duplication of Federal
programs with state programs. As I have indicated, Indiana has launched a
program of forgiveable loans and fellowships to entice people into critical
shortage teaching areas.
If other states are doing the same, there will be
less need for this kind of effort by the Federal government. Frankly, I also
worry about dribbling out relatively small sums of money over a great many institutions, leaving too little at any single place to do much good.
Therefore, I have tried to think of tasks that only the Federal
government can do, that won't or can't be undertaken by any state acting
One such task is the establishment of four or five model demonstration
centers that would possess sufficient resources that they could possess and
demonstrate state-of-the-art technology for instruction and that could develop,
evaluate, and disseminate instructional materials aimed at improving instruction
in science, mathematics, foreign language, and computer education wherever
such instruction is needed: elementary and secondary schools, teacher
education, employment-based training programs, etc.
Such centers could be
located on university campuses where cooperation between scientists,
mathematicians, language experts, and teacher educators already exists.
The model centers ought to be established as partnerships that involve the
university, school authorities, and representatives of business and industry.
Federal funds might be matched with money or in-kind contributions from
the various "partners."
It is also important for Congress to recognize that most schools, colleges,
and departments of education that would be asked to host programs to train or